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Grizzly bear picture and information (Ursus horribilis)

Grizzly bear picture and information (Ursus horribilis)Research has shown that the popular terms grizzly or silver-tip cover a group containing numerous species of large bears peculiar to North America, some of which, especially in California, have become extinct.

These bears vary much in size, some about equaling the black bear and others attaining a weight of more than 1,000 pounds. They vary in color from pale dull buffy to nearly black, usually with lighter tips to the hairs, which produce the characteristic grizzled or silver-tipped appearance upon which the common names are based.

The strongest and most distinctive external character of the grizzlies is the long, proportionately slender, and slightly curved claws on the front feet, sometimes more than 3 inches long.

Grizzly bears have a wide range - from the Arctic coast of Alaska southward, in a belt extending from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, through western Canada and the United States, and thence along the Sierra Madre of Mexico to southern Durango. They also occupy the barren grounds of northern Canada, and vague reports of a large brown bear in the interior of the Peninsula of Labrador indicate the possibility of the existence there of an unknown species of grizzly.

From the days of the earliest explorers of the Rocky Mountain region grizzly bears have borne the undisputed title of America's fiercest and most dangerous big game. In early days, having little fear of the primitive weapons of the Indians, they were bold and indifferent to the presence of man, and no higher badge of supreme courage and prowess could be gained by a warrior than a necklace of grizzly claws.

Since the advent of white men with guns, conditions have changed so adversely to the grizzlies that they have become extremely shy, and the slightest unusual noise or other alarm causes them to dash away at a lumbering, but surprisingly rapid, gallop. The deadly gun has produced this instinctive reaction for self-preservation. It does not mean, however, that grizzlies have lost their claim to the respect of even the best of hunters.

They are still considered dangerous, and even in recent years experienced hunters have been killed or severely mauled by them. They are much more intelligent than the black bear, and thus, when wounded, are a more dangerous foe.

Like the black bear, the grizzlies are commonly nocturnal, but in remote districts often wander about in search of food by day. They roll over stones and tear open rotten wood in search of grubs and insects, They also dig out ground squirrels and other rodents and eat a variety of acorns and other wild nuts and fruits. As an offset to this lowly diet, many powerful old grizzlies, from the Rocky Mountains to California, have become notorious cattle-killers. They stalk cattle at night, and, seizing their prey by the head, usually break its neck, but sometimes hold and kill it by biting.

Like other bears, grizzlies hibernate in winter, seeking small caves, or other shelter, and sometimes digging a den in the ground. The young, from one to four in number, are born in midwinter and are very small, naked, and but partly developed at birth. They go about with the mother throughout the summer and commonly den up with her the following winter. Although full-grown grizzlies are ordinarily solitary in habits, parties of from four to eight are sometimes seen. The object of these curious but probably brief companionships is not known.